(ARA) - Perfectly manicured, emerald green lawns flanked by floral beds. Acres of granite counter top and gleaming stainless steel appliances. And everywhere you look are surfaces clean enough to eat off -- that's the appeal of the model home.
There's a reason why model homes look the way they do. Builders know that everything they do to make a house look visually appealing amounts to actual dollars, and often thousands of dollars, added to the sale price. The same principal applies to your home.
Whether you're planning on selling, or just sprucing up your house to make it more enjoyable to live in, mimicking the ideal appearance of a model home can yield impressive results. Here are some tips and trends to help make your house a showplace:
Start with curb appeal.
This is especially important if you're planning on selling. First impressions are lasting ones and unmown grass or shabby planting beds make the kind of statement you want to avoid. Keep grass well trimmed and planting beds watered. If you don't have a green thumb, choose easy-to-grow flowers, like petunias, to add pizzazz to your landscaping.
Cleanliness is essential.
Whether you're selling your home or living in it, keeping it clean is a top priority. Clean homes are better preserved, more healthful places to live. And homebuyers rank dirty houses at the top of their turn-offs list. You probably take care of the kitchen and baths regularly, but don't forget the need to shampoo the carpet occasionally, especially if it is worn or old. And take the time to do the windows -- you'll be amazed at the difference it makes to your home's appearance, both inside and out.
Cut the clutter.
Living in a cluttered environment is harmful on so many levels -- from your home's sell-appeal to your own self esteem. Decreasing clutter opens up the visual space in your home and can inspire greater decorating creativity.
Take care of repairs as quickly as possible.
Some things simply can't wait, like a leaking roof. But try not to put off small repairs that may not seem consequential -- like the toilet that needs the handle jiggled every now and then. Small repairs can become big problems if they add up or get worse with time -- and they always do.
Focus on the kitchen and baths.
Put your decorating dollars into the rooms and trends that give the biggest payoff in both your enjoyment of your home and appeal to potential buyers. No penny spent in the kitchen and bath is ever wasted, whether you're simply dressing up the bath with new towels or installing granite counter tops in the kitchen. Granite counter tops are a must in model homes, as are gleaming clean baths.
Consider adding an interior designer touch, such as a custom wall mural.